garden of the Tsar´s governor-general in Pskov, Prince Yuri Ivanovich
Tokmakov. The maidens are amusing themselves, watched over by their
nurses. Princess Olga, however, is left unmoved by her friends´ games
and songs. She dreams of meeting her beloved, and is awaiting news of
The nosy Perfilyevna tries to wheedle out of Olga´s nurse if
it is true that Olga is not a prince´s daughter. Vlasyevna speaks of
Novgorod: Tsar Ivan became angry at the free city and together with his
oprichnina came and slaughtered indiscriminately and mercilessly:
Styosha, Olga´s friend, secretly tells her that Mikhailo Tucha will be
in the garden in the evening to see Olga. The nurses take the maidens
into the tower-chamber.
Olga comes into the garden, but her joy of
seeing her beloved is short-lived. The Princess has been promised in
marriage to the noble boyar Matuta, and it is not for Mikhailo Tucha,
the son of a poor governor, to act as a rival. Mikhailo tells Olga of
his decision to depart for Siberia and, when he returns rich with furs
and silver, to ask her hand from Prince Tokmakov. But Olga persuades
her beloved to stay, and promises Mikhailo she will beg her father not
to give her to Matuta. Tokmakov and Matuta come out from the tower.
Mikhailo Tucha hides, and Olga slips into the garden, overhearing her
father´s conversation with Matuta. Tokmakov says he is not Olga´s
natural father. Her mother was the noblewoman Vera Sheloga, the
Prince´s dead wife, and her father is unknown.
Bells ring out –
the alarm for the townspeople to assemble. The Prince and Matuta
depart. Shocked, Olga takes the bells as the death knell burying her
Alarm bells continue to ring. The people gather on the square.
horseman Yushko Velebin brings the news – proud Novgorod has fallen and
Tsar Ivan Vasilievech is marching on Pskov. Worry and panic seize the
people. Prince Tokmakov tries to calm the people – Pskov has nothing to
fear, with their faith and truth the townspeople serve their native
land well. And so they must meet the Tsar in peace and hospitality. The
young people of Pskov, headed by Mikhailo Tucha (a freeman of the
town), do not wish to submit to the Tsar. They call on the people to
demand independence. The freemen take up the bold song of their leader
and leave the town. In fright Matuta asks Tokmakov to call the streltsy
to deal with the unruly. Tokmakov refuses indignantly. The alarm bell
continues to sound.
The people of Pskov are waiting for Tsar Ivan, setting the feast tables.
and her nurse appear. The Princess admits that she has heard the
conversation of her adoptive father with Matuta and bemoans the fact
she is an orphan. Olga is sad, but she is also gripped by some strange
feeling. Impatiently Olga awaits the Tsar.
The bells ring louder,
Tsar Ivan Vasilievich himself appears on the square. The people drop to
their knees in prayer for forgiveness.
the Terrible at the entrance to Prince Tokmakov´s chamber. "To enter
nor not" he asks of the Prince, deciding the town´s fate. Tokmakov
answers with a deep bow. The Tsar is led to the place of honour.
Knowing the Prince has a daughter, the Tsar wishes her to bring him his
bowl. Olga enters, followed by Styosha and the other maidens carrying
food. When Olga raises her head to present the Tsar with his bowl, Ivan
the Terrible recognises the features of the woman he once loved – Vera
Sheloga. Stunned, with difficulty the Tsar manages to hide his unease
Left alone with Tokmakov and asking who was Olga´s
mother, Ivan understands he has met his own daughter. This is like a
sign to him and he pardons rebellious Pskov: "May the murders cease!
Too much blood: Let us blunt our swords on stone. May God bless Pskov!"
wood close to Pechery Monastery. The maidens are off to pray. Olga
remains behind to meet Mikhailo Tucha. Olga hopes to beg forgiveness
for her beloved from the Tsar, but Tucha refuses to kneel before Ivan
the Terrible and calls on Olga to leave her native lands. She agrees
without hesitation. Nothing now links her with Pskov.
Suddenly Matuta appears. He has followed Olga. His serfs wound Tucha and carry off the young girl.
Tsar´s headquarters near Pskov. Tsar Ivan cannot sleep. Meeting his
daughter has awoken memories of his past youth. But his thoughts are
once again brought to affairs of State. He wishes to see Russia unified
under one mighty ruler.
The Tsar´s thoughts are interrupted by
Prince Vyazemsky. He has taken Matuta who had kidnapped Olga. In fury,
the Tsar is ready to kill Matuta, but the latter declares he took the
Princess while she was with "the enemy of the Tsar´s will" Mikhailo
Tucha. The Tsar orders Olga be brought immediately. Ivan Vasilievich
wished to take Olga to Moscow with him and imprison Tucha.
Olga softens the Tsar´s heart: from childhood she was wont to pray for
him, loved him always, like her own father. Ivan the Terrible is ready
to admit to his daughter that he is in fact her true father, but close
to the tent the freemen´s song is heard – it is Mikhailo and his men
come to free Olga. The furious Tsar orders the rebels be killed and
Tucho be taken alive. Olga, who has heard her beloved´s words of
farewell, runs from the tent. Gunfire is heard. All the assailants lie
The body of Olga, shot by a rogue bullet, is brought to the
tent. In despair, Ivan Vasilievich calls the apothecary Bomely, but
Olga is already dead. The inconsolable Tsar bows over his daughter´s